This past weekend, my family invited J & I along on a camping trip to Little Manatee River State Park. If you've read anything on Stellar Piece before, you can probably tell that neither J nor I are really into pulling up our bootstraps & roughing it. The closest that either of us have come to being 'one with nature' was our 4-day Bonnaroo adventure & by the end of that we had basically swore off camping all together.
But we agreed to go because there are three things that Jake & I will never turn down: family, food & adventures. We arrived at the campsite around 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon & met up with my mom, Aric & Bentley who had been there with the RV since Friday. Mom had prepared her world-famous sandwiches for us & that is when our eating frenzy began. We seriously didn't stop eating for two days straight. Who knew there were so many perks to camping?
The rest of our family met up with us later & we all worked on setting up our tent. We had what could be considered the mansion of all tents. Jake, Ashton, Skylar & I surprisingly got the thing up pretty quickly. J & I put our own aesthetic touches on it with a few strings of lights & a colorful duvet for our blow-up mattress. If we're going to sleep in a tent, we at least have to do it the J & A way.
Camping is not a place for make-up or playing dress-up. It was nice to not worry about what I was wearing but that also meant that no one was in the mood for an extensive photo-shoot, so most of our photos were gracefully taken from behind.
I learned that J has something in common with all little boys: he is completely fascinated by fire. Watching his face (literally) light up while he was manically spraying lighter fluid everywhere & yielding a big metal stoker stick was surprisingly endearing. Some things are always going to be cool, especially fire.
While Jake was off being a pyromaniac, I was on S'more duty. I taught all the kids how to make perfect s'mores: two graham crackers, two pieces of Hershey chocolate & one perfectly toasted marshmallow. Mmmm.
It got pretty cold in the evening which was fine by me because J & I snuggled close like little bunnies all night. We woke up in the morning feeling surprisingly well-rested, although our tent was a little humid from the rain. Then my mom broke the news to us: we were all going to go on a two-and-a-half hour canoe trip. As a girl who has little-to-no upper body strength, I have to admit that I was not really excited to be stuck in a manually powered metal torpedo. There were times along the river when J & I didn't see eye-to-eye, it may or may not be when I was flying full speed into a thorny bush or when I was nearly decapitated by a log, but it ended up being a growing experience for the both of us. Thanks for not giving up on me, J.
I ended up having the best weekend by just letting go & doing all of the things that I said that I didn't want to do. Sometimes it can be tempting to be stubborn & difficult, but I always end up having more fun when I just chill out & go with the flow. I was with all of my favorite people on the planet. We all just ate, laughed, almost killed each other in canoes & enjoyed each others company. That's what it's all about because at the end of the day life is just an adventure.
Watch a short film that we made using footage from our little trip below. A & I are extremely proud of how it turned out. :)